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January 14, 2021

Reform plan: FBR abolishes three posts of Members

National

January 14, 2021

ISLAMABAD: In a bid to implement the first phase of ambitious reform plans, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has abolished/merged three positions of Members and brought down the total numbers from 13 to 10 Members, The News has learnt.

“Yes, we have implemented the first phase of reform plans and slashed down the total numbers of members from 13 to 10 in one go,” the FBR’s spokesman confirmed to The News when contacted for comments on Wednesday.

Top official sources in background discussions confided to this scribe that the FBR abolished/merged three posts of Members, including Human Resource Management (HRM) with Administration, Member Accounting with Audit and Member Strategic Planning Reforms & Statistics (SPR&S) with Reforms.

Dr Ishrat Hussain-led Institutional Reforms Committee had recommended slashing down the total strength of Members from 13 to 8 in phases. So the FBR has implemented the first phase and brought down the numbers from 13 to 10. It is not yet known when the second phase to reduce the Members will be implemented.

The official spokesman said that the FBR’s Board in Council granted approval for abolishing/merging three posts of Members in first phase and it was not yet known when the second phase would be implemented. He said that it might get implementation within the current fiscal year.

The official sources said that the post of Member Information Technology (IT) might also be abolished in the next phase as the FBR had hired a Chief Information Officer (CIO) but it was still premature to make any prediction at this stage.

There are 10 existing Members now into the fold of FBR machinery, including FBR’s Member Inland Revenue (IR) Operation, Member (IR) Policy, Member Facilitation and Taxpayer Education (FATE), Member Customs (Operation), Member Customs (Policy), Member Taxpayer Audit, Member Admin, Member Legal, Member IT and Member Legal and Accounting.

Currently, there are 21 Director Generals (DGs) into FBR’s machinery as 11 DGs belonged to the Customs group while 10 DGs are working in Inland Revenue (IR) service group.

Dr Ishrat Hussain-led reform initiative had recommended lean tax machinery equipped with IT in order to provide transparent mechanisms. The Institutional Reforms Committee had recommended autonomy for FBR but the FBR officers unanimously opposed such move and demanded of the government to keep them into public sector domain.

When contacted, Institutional Reforms Head/Minister Dr Ishrat Hussain on Wednesday said that the Institutional Reforms had submitted its recommendation on FBR-related framework where they recommended to bring down the FBR’s members from 13 to 8 and it’s a good sign that the FBR had implemented the first phase of reform plan. He said that they recommended bringing automation into the FBR and the government hired a Chief Information Officer, who was earlier working for HSBC.